Monday, March 03, 2008

Rach Gia

An early start yesterday...4 45 a.m. to be precise. Pulled out of Saigon and onto a plane for Rach Gia, which is located in the Mekong Delta and is just about as flat and wet as any place i've ever seen. We spent the day in a van, traveling between the eight - count 'em eight - work-sites we are to attend to whilst we are here. At least things are broken into week long cycles, the first week being spent in an idyll of very intense labor under excellent conditions -- the second week, less so. Those sites are a horror of loose duck feathers and close quarters, not so looking forward to digging those foundations around the broken existing structures, tucked close together, near filthy canals. Gulp.

But, that's next week.

For now, we only have to deal with the particularities of the Communist way of doing things, which involves little personal choice and much being told what to do, exactly how to do and why you must improve. This to people who have been doing these certain things (shoveling, mixing cement, brick-laying) for years. Unskilled labor. A-hem. Go figure.

Dealing with the fact that at least five people in my immediate vicinity have vowed to eat rat sometime within the next two weeks....will keep everyone posted.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Orange Cat

Last day in Saigon for now, thank goodness. Spent yesterday out of the city, on the seventh floor of the Caravelle Hotel - poolside and yoga-ing at their gym. I recommend it to anyone who has already experienced the day or two it takes to see ALL anyone ever wants to see of this city. (sorry, city). Finished the Hemingway, and mind is racing with his page-long reveries on the joys of beer-drinking and nonsensical bickering with a lover, among other things. Such a joy to read something both succinct and utterly full at the same time. GREEN HILLS OF AFRICA for any of you who might care...aside from loving the prose, my whole heart leapt toward the continent: smells, colors, textures. Perhaps that's why I'm slightly uncomitted to this place - too much time book-wise spent in the Arctic, Africa...and, now, again. Onto Shackleton piece tucked into my bag before I left.

On postive note, I have managed to find a delicious glass of avocado juice. You all know how much I care about that...still struggling to convey 'vegetarian' to the streetsellers of other things. A bummer, as that's the best food - but, I fear finding hunks of pork or....well, something else. Orange cat? NO.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Saigon, Again

Arrived last night in a weary, dreary mess after almost a full-day of travel on various Thai Airways flights, through Bangkok's endless shopping mall of an airport (miles and miles of shops). Took a cab directly to the hotel, same area as my stay before. It's a tourist-driven area, full of Westerners - young and old - in various states of warm-weather dress, some with backpacks others a bit cooler with smaller bundles. Had breakfast in one of the many cafes promising eggs....ordered. Remembered bird flu break-out I read about a week ago in Vietnam and promptly tasted it in the scramble, rejected plate and went for fruit instead. Experiencing the displaced feeling one has immediately upon arriving in such a distant land...out of touch...far-off...irrelevent. Letting it wash over and pass, embarking on long walk and generally settling my body into the different tempo of travel.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

O.K. O.K. I've been incredibly lazy when it comes to posting - all autumn saw was a picture of Jack in pumpkins and now it's officially winter, days have switched to getting longer and I'm still unlikely to update very often. Until I leave the country in March, that is. BUT...for whomever out there might be looking, wishing you a year full of happiness and fun.